Known as candies stateside or sweets across the Pond, sweet little treats appeal to just about everyone, old and young. These days it's fair to say most candy is bought from a store but surely the best kind is whatever your grandmother used to make. What could beat homemade candy, made with love?
Since moving to Houston I've discovered a wealth of tasty candies and bars, things we don't get in England like Baby Ruth, Red Hots, Butterfinger and Hershey's Kisses to name just a few. I find American chocolate sweeter and less grainy, on the whole, than its English counterpart.
A lot of other candies have similar (but not the exact same) versions in England which look similar but are named differently. What you call Lifesavers, for example, we call Polos, and candy apples are toffee apples to us (despite them not actually having any toffee on them).
Easy No-Bake Coconut Ice
I first made this in Brownies (England's answer to Girl Scouts) and since I love candy and also adore coconut, I just knew it was going to taste amazing, and it does! Here's the recipe so you can make it yourself. This is a no-bake candy in case you don't want to stand over a hot stove during Houston's hottest months. I guess the Brownies leader didn't have much faith in a bunch of kids using the ovens.
17 1/2 ounces powdered sugar
14 ounces unsweetened coconut flakes
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
14 ounces condensed milk
Red food coloring
Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl, then mix in the coconut, vanilla seeds from the pod and condensed milk using your hands. Divide the mixture in half. Press one half in a plastic wrap lined 8-inch baking tin.
Add several drops of red food coloring to the other half and mix it in. Now press the pink mixture on top of the white mixture and refrigerate the coconut ice for 2 hours or until set. Cut the coconut ice into squares to serve.
Try Some Homemade Fudge
Whether you prefer your fudge chocolatey, with nuts or simply flavored with a hint of vanilla, homemade fudge is something a lot of us have fond childhood memories of. This soft, creamy treat is one of the richest candies I can think of. Even I can't eat that much of it in one sitting and I have a pretty serious sweet tooth!
1 ounce butter
14 ounces condensed milk
12 ounces chopped dark chocolate
Pinch of salt
5 1/4 ounces chopped walnuts
Stir the butter, condensed milk, chocolate and salt in a heavy pan over a low heat until everything has melted and mixed together. Add the nuts and stir to combine, then pour the fudge mixture into a 9-inch square tray. Let it cool then refrigerate until set. Cut into squares to serve. Fudge freezes well too and you can either thaw it first or enjoy it as a frozen treat!
Unbeatable Chocolate Truffles
Truffles are associated with special occasions in England and make a nice gift for your dinner party host(ess) if you aren't bringing wine or flowers. I used to make the following recipe often, swapping the chocolate sprinkles for shaved white chocolate or cocoa powder depending on my mood. You can play with the recipe and come up with your own version, or even play with different coatings and make different ones at the same time. That's the fun thing about truffles, there are so many kinds to choose from! The following recipe does include raw egg yolks so ensure yours are from a good source.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 ounces milk chocolate
3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 egg yolk
Chocolate sprinkles, as needed
Put the butter and chocolate in a pan and warm it over a low heat until the mixture is melted together. Now add the sugar and mix well, then take the truffle mixture off the heat. Whisk in the egg yolk until you have quite a thick mixture. Refrigerate for an hour or until completely cool, then roll the mixture into about 25 truffles and roll each one in chocolate sprinkles.
If you really don't want to make your own English candies but you're still curious about how they taste, then why not head over to the British Isles Shop in Rice Village and try some of their English toffees, cola drops or ginger chews?